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Christian Nationalist Pseudo-Scholar Tapped For ‘Beck U’ History Prof

Christian Nationalist Pseudo-Scholar Tapped For ‘Beck U’ History Prof

So Glenn Beck has decided to institutionalize his persistent campaign of historical revisionism.  That’s right!  For “as low as $6.26/per month” you too can have access to Beck & co.’s wealth of misinformation.

Here’s Beck’s pitch for Beck University:

School may be out for the summer, but for Glenn Beck class is just starting.

This July, while others are relaxing poolside, head back to the classroom – from the comfort of your own home…

Offered exclusively to Extreme subscribers, Beck University is a unique academic experience bringing together experts in the fields of religion, American history and economics. Through captivating lectures and interactive online discussions, these experts will explore the concepts of Faith, Hope and Charity and show you how they influence America’s past, her present and most importantly her future.

The obligatory flood of criticism of Beck’s latest product has been two fold.  The first line pertains to the propagandist’s insatiable desire to separate his adoring followers from their money.  As Steve Benen reminded his readers July 6:

Remember, between May 2009 to August 2010, Glenn Beck will have published four print books, a photo book, and two audio books. That doesn’t include his tours and live shows, nor his paid online site.

This from a deranged media personality who reportedly takes in about $18 million a year…

The second and more damning criticism revolves around Beck U.’s curriculum; particularly, as it pertains to its pseudo-historical content and those tasked to teach it.

So who is the academic behemoth charged with enlightening Beck’s faithful?  Beck has selected David Barton:  an oft discredited, religiously motivated Republican activist known for his repeated attempts to rewrite American history with halos atop the Founders’ heads.

Among the more vocal critics of Beck and Barton is journalist and author Will Bunch.  In his July 1 post, Bunch offers some informative snark regarding “Beck’s pseudo-cyber-campus,” but his Feb. 9 post is much more useful for examining Beck’s intentions (and hypocrisy) and Barton’s bunk:

…Beck’s blueprint for America is deeply rooted in a Christian fundamentalist misinterpretation of American history, one that is built upon made-up quotes and bogus historical facts. What’s more, while Beck seeks to portray himself as a libertarian — remember, classic libertarianism includes abiding respect for the wall between church and state — his kick-off speaker at his first “American Revival” is a leading architect of the right-wing same-old, same-old, the close alliance between the Republican Party and Christian activists that helped bring us George W. Bush — and our current mess. That speaker is Texas GOP activist and school-textbook corrupter David Barton.

[…]

Barton is the founder of a Texas-based group called the WallBuilders, a foundation devoted to proving that the roots of the United States and its Constitution are not based on the separation of church of state … but as country built upon a bedrock of Christianity. That is also the premise of a widely circulated book that Barton published in the 1990s called “The Myth of Separation” — a book that was eventually re-written and issued under a different name because it was larded with bad information, some of which nevertheless became gospel on conservative talk radio…

For much, much more regarding Barton’s crimes against history be sure to check out the extensive works ofTalk to Action blogger (and also at The Huffington Post) Chris Rodda, Senior Researcher for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and the author of Liars for Jesus:  The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History.  Rodda’s “No, Mr. Beck…” series is instructive for understanding Barton’s tactics; like misrepresenting the work of actual academics in order to suggest that the Constitution was based on the Book of Deuteronomy, or cropping a quote from John Adams in order to claim that the second American President thought “Governments must be administered by the holy ghost.”  (Sigh…)

But Barton is simply a compliment to Beck’s propagandistic writings and rants.  Frankly, Beck’s own revisionist efforts seem sufficiently wicked.  Why, then, does Beck bother with a discredited Christian nationalist like Barton?

Let me know what you think in the comments below, but I suspect Barton’s usefulness to Beck is to provide an academic veneer for his political evangelism.  That Barton’s writings don’t reflect the realities of the American past is completely lost on Beck’s already indoctrinated, inexplicably large audience.

While Beck University isn’t likely to generate any new subscribers to its namesake’s warped worldview, it would be irresponsible to ignore him (as tempting as that might be).  As Will Bunch explained Feb. 9:

…his “100-year plan” for the nation would set us back more than 234 years, before the time when brave men imagined a nation where people would be free to worship all religions, or no religion. The Beck-Barton plan is a dangerous idea — but given what we’ve learned about Beck’s influence over the last year, it is also something that is too dangerous to ignore.

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Glenn Beck image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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80 comments

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3:11AM PDT on Jul 22, 2010

At $6.26 per month, all I can think of is: You get what you pay for.

In this case, it's a three ringed circus complete with snake oil merchants and an arch clown as ring master.





11:58AM PDT on Jul 16, 2010

Real history is irrelevant to these people, they are interested in using myths to motivate people to adopt their twisted values.

12:13PM PDT on Jul 13, 2010

I just do not understand how anyone can truly believe any of the words that comes out of this man's hateful mouth. He is certainly in this for all the money he can get for his own benefit

7:20PM PDT on Jul 12, 2010

Beck repeatedly commits the most ignorantly wishful idiocy because he really doesn't know any better. Terribly ill-educated, he talks off the top of his ill-informed head. Solely interested in effect on people of similar mentality by whom he makes a good living, he fabricates one ridiculous spectacle after another. Beck would be forbidden to broadcast on any respectable network.

1:22PM PDT on Jul 12, 2010

Just watching Beck, one can see he's playing games, mugging to the camera, being cute as hell, (at least in his own mind), and most likely doesn't believe his own rancid hate-speech. But what he also knows is that there are so many stupid, ignorant morons out there, that this slimey, evil, greedy little grifter can play out his fantasy of Lunatic Fringe demagogue, and make millions in the process.

1:44PM PDT on Jul 11, 2010

I like Glen Beck. Can you go to any college for less than $7 a month!? Not that I am saying this is "college" ....

Don't like him don't listen.

10:47AM PDT on Jul 11, 2010

People ACTUALLY believe this moron! THAT is DANGEROUS!! Anyone who watches FOX news for accurate info is NUTS!

11:31PM PDT on Jul 10, 2010

As a descendant of William Randolph of the Virginia colony, history has been passed down to me.

Many people do not realize that the Jews were here in the 1600's right beside the British colonists.

Christianity was taught in the early schools. Pocahontas was schooled by the colonists and taught Christianity. The only reason Separation of Church and State existed was to prevent one religion from controlling things as the Church of England did.

The bible and prayer were used by the government in rendering decisions of law. The bible was used in every courtroom, state and federal office. The Ten Commandments were displayed and were the basis of law.

Stop listening to others. Read the original laws of each colony from the 1600's for yourself.

Did you know that the early colonists paid tutors to come to their homes to teach their children? Did you know that the colonial government established schools so that the POOR could be educated?

Our colonial government officials paid for their children's education. Today, the family gets a free ride if their parent works for the government. The Founding Fathers paid for their children, our tax dollars didn't.

Stop judging Glenn Beck. Prove that he is right or wrong by going back to the original documents. Those original documents will show you how far Republicans and Democrats have strayed.

Only we can satisfy our hunger for truth by looking to the original documents. Glenn Beck is closer to the truth of

10:32AM PDT on Jul 10, 2010

A pseudoscholar is the only person qualified to teach psuedohistory to the psuedointellects “attending” a pseudouniversity.

9:27AM PDT on Jul 10, 2010

Glen Beck and the Tea Baggers have a very limited understanding of history. Many of their ideas lack a comprehension of the history of the colonies before and during the Revolution. So many Americans have no knowledge of history or geography. So they will accept anything with no footnotes or questions.
Here's some early American history:
The first people to get here (after the Native Americans) were Hispanic and Norwegian. The Spanish controlled the West & Florida. The main British began late 16th century, but really came in the 17th Century. They tried to enslave the Indians, but the Indians just ran away or died. They brought blacks in. The Puritans in Massachusetts brought in the first slaves and back in England they were fighting Catholics and the Church of England.

New York was originally Dutch colony. Delaware was a Swedish colony. Maryland was a Catholic colony. There was a war between Maryland and Virginia. In Europe it was the 30 years War and from 1640-1656 3 English Civil Wars and in both Wars Religion had a very powerful part. The Founders had family that had gone through the Wars.

Religion was not the great salvation! It was a weapon of War. The Protestants were at war against Catholics and then Protestant fought Protestant. The Founders knew from history that Religion was important to people, but everyone had to have equal rights to follow any Religion not just a National one or the whole Country would go into Civil War.

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